B2B Lead Gen Blog

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Recent blog posts

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We are often asked, “How can I prove that the changes I’ve made are helping to improve our lead-to-sales funnel?” The answer is…. KPIs.

Here are some of the key performance indicator (kpi) metrics that you may want to measure and use to analyze your campaigns and lead-to-sales conversion metrics:

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In our 25 years of providing b2b sales lead pipeline building services, we have developed hundreds of millions of dollars in sales pipeline for our b2b customers. Along the way, we’ve accrued a number of best practices around lead nurturing which we will share here.

Our focus is helping b2b selling firms who have high lifetime value customers and a complex sales process. And we have found that it takes a good 7 – 13+ touches to convert a cold prospect into a sales-ready lead. So yes, sales lead prospect nurturing and management is critical to creating a pipeline. If done correctly, B2B firms will see increased conversions to opportunity and sales, decreased costs and shorter cycles resulting in significantly improved profitability. Get it wrong and it’s like running in quicksand.

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As each quarter winds down, you and your team no doubt review your marketing lead-to-sales pipeline conversion rates. How are you doing? If the funnel conversion metrics are lower than expected or you just want to increase them, you may want to consider adding peer-to-peer tele-qualification to your touch sequence. Research indicates that peer to peer style of tele-qualification AKA – the human touch - has proven to be the requisite component in developing prospect leads into “sales-ready qualified” condition. And in some cases, disqualifying them, thus saving you time and money pursuing an unfit prospect.

Fact is, higher quality sales leads convert to closed sales at a much higher rate. So how you and your firm go about building the presales lead pipeline is of utmost importance.

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Posted by on in Lead Generation

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Recently, industry leader and mentor, Jim Obermayer of the Sales Lead Management Association asked for thoughts about marketing myths. So I and my staff - Tom Judge, Jared Gressley, John Dandin and Stan Odachowski put our collective heads together and came up with our Top 16 Marketing Myths (or shall we say self-deceptions!). The SLMA, in turn, offered its opinion on reasons behind each myth. In some cases, we countered or elaborated. Here are the last five myths from our list.

12. BANT qualification doesn’t help.

SLMA: Every sales rep wants to know if there is a budget, if the buyer has authority to buy, if there is a genuine need (not a student, competitor or prisoner), and the time frame for delivery. Without BANT, you know very little.

DMP: Keep in mind that we strongly suggest you customize your version of BANT. Don’t use anyone else’s qualification criteria. Create your own. Without your customized BANT criteria, how can you define a qualified lead, let alone find one? Click here if you would like some fresh ideas on improving your custom BANT criteria?

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Posted by on in Lead Generation

marketing myths_5

Recently, industry leader and mentor, Jim Obermayer of the Sales Lead Management Association asked for thoughts about marketing myths. So I and my staff - Tom Judge, Jared Gressley, John Dandin and Stan Odachowski put our collective heads together and came up with our Top 16 Marketing Myths (or shall we say self-deceptions!). The SLMA, in turn, offered its opinion on reasons behind each myth. In some cases, we countered or elaborated. Here are the next six myths from our list; the rest will be posted in the final blog.

6. My in-house team documents every phone call.

SLMA: What planet are you living on? Your rule is probably to document every call, but it doesn’t happen in the real world.

DMP: Ah, but sales 2.0 multi touch contact centers use sophisticated call ware which automatically documents each and every call, and all the surrounding intelligence. And DO NOT forget that there are compliance laws that require documentation if you are calling prospects to discuss needs and a potential sale.

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

marketing myths_5

Recently, industry leader and mentor, Jim Obermayer of the Sales Lead Management Association asked for thoughts about marketing myths. So I and my staff - Tom Judge, Jared Gressley, John Dandin and Stan Odachowski put our collective heads together and came up with our Top 16 Marketing Myths (or shall we say self-deceptions!). The SLMA, in turn, offered its opinion on reasons behind each myth. In some cases, we countered or elaborated. Here are the first five myths from our list; the rest will be posted in the coming blogs.

1. Prospects don’t want to talk on the telephone.

SLMA: Of course they want to talk to someone, or why would they inquire? They don’t want to talk to someone who isn’t willing to listen to them.

DMP: Let’s remember, people buy from people. They are time short and seek information that will benefit only them. Some firms have forgotten this and only engage digitally. Make sure you have the human touch in your cadence because this can move the relationship forward much more quickly.

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If you are a venture capitalist, you no doubt want to see your start-up investments achieve their potential as quickly as possible. How can you ensure that a new company follows a proven path and gains immediate traction in its marketplace? Using outside resources can significantly improve your investment track record.

In fact, outsourcing tele-channel activity is widely accepted to have numerous benefits over building an in-house model. The primary reason is that you will see a return on your investment in the form of time savings, cost savings and additional revenue generation. You can also get unbiased proof of concept by way of third party reporting.

But what drives these savings? Here are some of the underlying factors:

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If you’ve been following our Lead Gen Blog, you know that DMP advocates a multi-touch process and webinars, when done right, are very effective demand generation tactics. Our guest blogger is DMP partner Mike Agron, President & CEO of WebAttract. Below, he outlines 7 ways to best measure a webinar’s success. As you read it, we think you will find that his advice demonstrates the symbiotic relationship of webinars with other demand generation campaign touches, too.

Having done hundreds of B2B webinars, I’m often asked, how should I measure the effectiveness of my webinars?

Most B2B marketers will suggest it’s about their cost per lead or CPL. While I think that’s important, you should be placing even greater emphasis on these 7 outcomes that are measured against your business objectives for doing the webinar:

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If you’ve been following our blogs or reading our whitepapers, you know how we feel about multi-touch campaigns: they are an absolute necessity to generating qualified, sales-ready leads in the B2B arena. And if you have read the Direct Marketing Association’ Response Rate Study, you will concur that “A single touch simply will not get the job done!”

You’ll need to develop a sequence of relevant personalized content to deliver to prospects over time. Doing this will help you earn the right to engage your prospects as a peer and ask the questions necessary to qualify them.

Here is a list of digital and off line personal touch tactics to consider as you create your campaigns:

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Assess prospect data accuracy

The fact is, your prospect database is only as good as the accuracy of the data, and it is a never-ending task keeping the data clean and current. People move around from job to job and company to company; companies are acquired or merge.

Often your prospect database is inherited from those who came before you. It is frequently a jerry-rigged compilation of data from different departments, with little consistency in the type of data being collected. Until you standardize your database, it will continually create gaps in your marketing efforts. Because database clean-up is a huge headache, the tendency to delay dealing with it is sometimes irresistible. However, it is well worth going to the trouble of addressing data issues. In our observation, good clean data is fundamental to the effectiveness of any B2B campaign and will dramatically improve the response rates and cost effectiveness of your demand generation efforts.

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Posted by on in Lead Generation

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It’s a fact: in today’s business climate, it takes much longer reach decision makers. It seems that our best efforts at creating content and value, as well as our ability to broadcast vast amounts of information to well targeted titles does not seem to be generating the response we expected. The decision makers who receive a perfectly worded email describing a “to die for” promotion are not reacting to it the way we predicted.

There are distinct barriers to opening the conversation and here is where I’d like to offer advice based on years of experience in inside sales. It seems expedient to target decision makers, and yet, it may not necessarily be the most productive approach. C-level executives are busy with many things beyond making purchasing decisions and may not pay due attention to an e-sales pitch or a call from a stranger.

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Once you have defined your ideal sales-ready qualified lead and determined the number needed to hit your annual sales revenue goal, the next step is to create plans to get the lead gen machine producing them.

Top of funnel:

A great deal has been said about top of funnel basic lead generation. Make sure you are solid here with your plan. Contrary to popular belief, it is very difficult to generate inbound responses from your target market. Most inbound traffic, I am sad to say, is from those outside your desired target group, so be careful. Also, inbound lead gen takes a long time and content is critical so make sure you have the time and budget in place to get the job done.

Mid Funnel:

Here is where you want to nurture your responders until they cross from a top of funnel inquiry to a true sales-ready contender.

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Posted by on in Lead Generation

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So is Outbound the new Inbound? Or Inbound the new Outbound? Or should we call them Rebound or better, yet, Unbound? It appears that the people who named this inbound thing only looked at the first step in the b2b sales lead process -- too narrow a view from our perspective.

As a company providing lead qualification services, we have processed hundreds of thousands of inbound and outbound prospect touches. Therefore, we want to pass along (without the hype) some of the real world lessons from up and down the entire funnel.

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Posted by on in Lead Generation

This condition is generally caused by having problems generating healthy sales pipelines, creating frustration accompanied by feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.

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Symptoms

  • A gut feeling that Marketing Automation is not generating the expected results.
  • An abundance of unattended and/or unqualified leads.
  • Email campaigns with too many bounce backs.
  • Large number of opt-outs, or worse, broadcasts being black listed.
  • No one responding, taking the offer, or downloading a paper.
  • The sales force nags about poorly qualified leads.
  • Support to generate sufficient content to maintain an appropriate sequence of touches is lacking.
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Have you been burned by a failed lead generation campaign? So much so that the mere mention of lead generation cause you to clamp your hands over your ears and sing-song “La-La-La-La-La…” as loud as you can? Then you may not be surprised at how easy it is for a BANT lead generation campaign to fail.  But you may be surprised at why… and it’s not necessarily what you do that is the problem, but what you don’t do.

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Years ago I was working part time as a dog obedience instructor in the evenings a couple of times a week.  Believe it or not I have found that a lot of what I learned as an obedience instructor is applicable to good marketing practices.  Often there was a communication gap between dog and handler simply because the only time training was going on was once a week at class. It was obvious that the dog owner was not communicating during the week with their dog at all.

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Making any kind of decision requires information. When you are at a restaurant you have never been to before, you need information to place your order. Unless someone you know has highly recommended a particular dish, it is unlikely you would order without looking at the menu or listening to the waitress recite the day’s specials. Some of the same decision-making criteria go into that meal choice as would go into a business decision, things such as budget and timing for example. Ears.jpg

However, when making a serious business decision, it has been found that there are some other specific things a decision-maker needs to hear in order to shed the doubt and take the plunge. Each of these issues may hold a different place of priority with different prospects, and there may be other criteria involved in a business decision, but basically these seven things are what it takes to get past the tipping point. This information needs to be in the messaging you are delivering to your prospects.

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Posted by on in Lead Generation

A view from the trenches
As the VP of Operations of a 23 year B2B lead management services firm, I have been directly involved with hundreds of B2B sales lead campaigns resulting in many millions of individual interactions with prospects on behalf of our clients for whom we generated hundreds of millions of dollars in sales pipelines. This article is an attempt at sharing some of the insights gained by being a first-hand witness of the marketing evolution of the last 20 years with the hope of helping firms understand where the challenges are in the midst of so many and sometimes confusing trends.

The shifting front lines
Lead generation has always been impacted by the periodic appearance of new tools promising to be panaceas for the perceived high costs of B2B lead generation. Direct mail and mass email marketing are examples of two now almost defunct approaches in the B2B world. In more recent years, the buzz has been around Marketing Automation (MA) which, because it is targeted (sometimes…), seems to be a more rational and effective way of generating inquiry level leads. However, like its predecessors, it often falls short in producing the truly “sales-ready qualified leads” for those with a complex selling process. This is frustrating many lead pipeline managers.

In tandem with the above, we have seen many firms attempting to create in-house pre-sales lead development groups or are thinking about doing so. While, in principle, this makes good business sense, it requires a special skill set to do it successfully. There are issues related to costs, staffing, hiring, training, software tools, management and efficiency that not everyone takes into account when implementing or considering such a move.

To View The Rest Of This Article, Click Here...

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So you’ve tried gathering leads for your sales team only to find they aren’t even using them because they quickly found they were a waste of time? Now they won’t even look at what you send them. Time to make sure you’re following at least the basics in today’s world of lead acquisition. Here are 5 things you should make sure you’re doing if you want more of those leads to convert to sales:

b2ap3_thumbnail_Convert-Prospects-07_24_14.jpg1. Talk to the Right People
The decision makers may be different than the recipients of your marketing and sales efforts. Someone needs to find and interview the true decision makers in your target accounts. Do you have someone on it?

2. Aim at the Right Target
Sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how often marketing efforts are so broad they waste valuable resources with a message to the masses that only relates to a small percentage of the audience. Use rifles instead of shotguns to fire marketing messages to specific targets that have been determined to present a higher opportunity for potential sales. Perhaps a mass media rainstorm over every business in your market is a waste. Using targeted marketing techniques, you can focus in early on the prospects that are most likely to close.

3. Account Timeline
Once you’re talking to the right people, learn whether now is the time they are ready to buy or chart a timeline into the future for the next 6, 12 or 18 months regarding purchasing plans. Every prospective account should have a timeline in their file and if you can automate your follow up, you’re really going to roll. Timing is everything.

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What is a weak economy anyway?
Generally this translates into less market growth in which to sell. It means that unless you can find and are capable of doing business in those few growth sectors that are active in the economy, you must take business from others or find other ways to expand your reach.

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Good Times
In good economic times when growth is strong, gaining new business that didn’t belong to anyone previously may seem easier to accomplish. However, it is not unusual for new opportunities to emerge as economic pressures push potential target accounts, which were previously considered out of range, into the cross hairs of your artillery. These accounts may have been doing business with someone before, but their entire decision making paradigm will be changing to accommodate a shift in their own budget priorities that simple didn’t exist previously.

Time to Change Tactics
This calls for a change in your tactics to connect with this “growth” in your market sector. Instead of relying on the same account demographic profile that you operated with in good economic times, you may need to expand your definition of “perfect customer” to include some new blood.

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Once you’ve defined the criteria which make a true sales-ready lead for your company, the next step is to calculate the number of leads you will need to produce each month to feed the sales organization.

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Many B2B firms fail at this, so be sure to get this right. This is the critical feeder stream volume into your sales team. This volume of qualified sales-ready leads with the sales conversion rates applied should back into your sales revenue goal.
Some of the numbers you will be looking to quantify are:  

  • Annual sales revenues goal
  • Sales revenue goal per quarter
  • Revenue per sale (total revenue per deal or lifetime value are popular numbers to use)
  • # Closed sales required per quarter 
  • Estimated closed rate of pipeline proposal opportunities
  • # Qualified leads that convert to pipeline proposals per quarter
  • Estimated forward conversion rate from sales-ready leads into the sales pipeline (Impact)
  • # Qualified “sales-ready leads” required per quarter 
  • # Qualified “sales-ready leads” required per month

Click here to get one of DMP’s free lead to revenue calculators now.

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